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Top 10 Thanksgiving destinations

We’ve come up with a cornucopia of travel ideas on Sure, we cover the obvious – after all, no list would be complete without a nod to the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade or the site of the 1620 pilgrim landing – but, we also favor less-traditional destinations, from lush islands and beach spots to desert landscapes and ski slopes.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Happy Thanksgiving!iStock International
/ Source: Sherman's Travel

We’ve come up with a cornucopia of travel ideas on Sure, we cover the obvious – after all, no list would be complete without a nod to the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade or the site of the 1620 pilgrim landing – but, we also favor less-traditional destinations, from lush islands and beach spots to desert landscapes and ski slopes. Plus, with fares so low to Europe at this time of year, we'd be remiss not to pick at least one European capital; our preferred city is known for its terrific beer and French fries, although you'll be hard-pressed to find football on television (American football, that is). We've even recommended a jaunt on the high seas, since we figure there's no better tribute to the adventuresome spirit of the pilgrim pioneers than by making your own transatlantic trek; bring your family along for the fun and enjoy the best of the holiday!

Granted, there’s not much of a connection between Thanksgiving and this Dutch-owned Caribbean isle, but it’s certain that giving thanks for all of life’s little pleasures is made infinitely more effortless when kicking back on the turquoise shores of tropical paradise. All-inclusive, luxurious resorts line the shores, diverse culinary fare is served up in numerous restaurants, and superb shopping opportunities abound.

Sure, you could be content scarfing down your traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all its trimmings, from turkey to Brussels sprouts, or you could sprout for something a bit different this year and actually spend the holiday in Brussels. This gastronomic paradise assures you needn’t forgo the feasting – just trade in the turkey and eggnog for moules-frites (mussels and French fries) and any one of several-hundred delectably brewed Belgian beers instead.

If you’re hankering to leave the shores of the continental US this Thanksgiving, but are craving traditional Americana on Turkey Day, there’s no finer option than the Aloha State . . . While much of the rest of the US is watching leaves drop to the ground with the onset of winter, Kauai remains as lush and green as you’ve ever seen – a most rewarding holiday getaway in every way.

Whether it be fishing, golfing, a spa retreat, or lazy beach-bumming days, a Thanksgiving getaway to Los Cabos sure beats the usual family banter around the dining table. Located at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, Los Cabos is composed of two very different towns: Cabo San Lucas, described by some as a glorified Los Angeles-style resort, and San José del Cabo, a traditional Mexican village. Whichever you fancy, both come complete with haute-style resorts and spas, world-class dining, and plenty of golden beaches. 

For the biggest Thanksgiving event in the country, head to New York City for its annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s a fantastical procession filled with colorful floats, marching bands, and at least a dozen giant helium balloons – to the delight of the 2.5 million spectators that come out to watch from the sidelines. If you’re at home basting the turkey instead, stay tuned to the spectacle on television; this is one American pageant that’s bound to please.

Thanksgiving celebrates a legendary dinner between Pilgrims and Indians – why not tip your hat to America’s original inhabitants this Thanksgiving, and head to Arizona, where the ubiquitous presence of ruins and reservations hold living tribute to the nation’s Native American past. Lively Phoenix makes for a good home base, boasting such jewels as the Heard Museum with its wonderful Native American art and archaeology collection, while neighboring Scottsdale offers such diversions as Western-themed Old Town Scottsdale, and a “pamper-me” spa culture which reflects the area’s Native American heritage and desert setting.

Celebrate the first Thanksgiving, pilgrim-style, in Plymouth, MA, where Mayflower passengers famously disembarked back in 1620. After visiting their supposed landing site, at Plymouth Rock, pay your respects to the statue of native Wampanoag chief Massasoit, who signed an accord with the pilgrims in 1621; what few members remain of his tribe today can be found living across the water, on Martha’s Vineyard. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more historic spot to spend the holiday.

You’ll need your sea legs to follow in the Pilgrims’ footsteps this Thanksgiving! We propose reenacting the seafaring adventure that those adventurous pioneers set out on nearly 400 years ago aboard the legendary Mayflower. Happily, you can experience the exhilaration of crossing the Atlantic without having to rough it as the poor Pilgrims surely did – we’ve discovered that one of the most luxurious cruise lines on the high seas, Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, offers six-night transatlantic crossings during Thanksgiving week.

Already blanketed with layers of soft powdery snow (seven feet of it, in fact), Vail is set to open November 16 with the best early-season conditions in over a decade. This means snow bunnies can head west for the holiday and hit the slopes to work off those turkey-day carbs. Besides the exciting mountain possibilities, the picturesque snow-covered town also offers notable restaurants, lodgings, and fashionable boutiques to charm you off the pistes as well.

This tiny US-affiliated island paradise is as close as you’ll get to uncharted territory in the Caribbean – it only recently opened to tourism after serving for decades as a US military base. Known for its virtually unspoiled sand, don't come expecting high-rise hotels, luxury complexes, or shopping centers – instead, the island caters to sophisticated, eco-minded tourists with small boutique hotels, the Caribbean’s largest wildlife refuge, and about 42 miles of pristine beach. Visit before everyone else discovers it – and be thankful you did.

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